Friday, August 19, 2011

Star Trek: Voyager--"The Raven"

Credit where credit is due: while VOY has an annoying habit of capitalizing on Seven’s popularity by tacking on a lesson in humanity for her in many, many episodes that are not overtly about the character, when an episode is a genuine exploration of Seven, it is generally good. Such is the case with “The Raven,’ an episode in which seven begins to recall the trauma of her assimilation as a child.

As Seven’s human physiology begins to reassert itself, she suffers of Borg chasing her and running into a raven. It plays out like a nightmare. The Doctor believes some of her implants have reactivated to serve as a homing beacon for a Borg Cube to pick her up. He is partially right, as Seven escapes Voyager and heads out into deep space in an effort to locate a cube she believes is waiting for her.

Her escapade could not happen at a worse time. Janeway is attempting to negotiate passage through Bomar space. The Bomar are a xenophobic race who monitor every particle that comes within their territory. They have already placed unreasonable demands on Voyager’s trip. They freak out when they learn there is not only a Borg onboard, but she has escaped into their territory, whereabouts otherwise unknown.

Tuvok and tom go looking for Seven. She disables their shuttle and holds Tuvok prisoner while looking for this cube she swears is out there what she finds instead his her father‘s ship, The Raven This is the spot at which she was assimilated twenty years ago. Those visions she had earlier where flashbacks. The Bomar track her down just as her memories are coming back, but she and Tuvok are rescued before either can be terminated. The doctor has a magic hypospray to keep Seven implants in line for the future, so that is that.

"The Raven” is effectively moody. The nightmare-like quality of seven’s returning memories are the best part of the episode. I also appreciate an effort is made to explain why seven is not a psychological basket case after spending so much time as a Borg” her human side has been so repressed, she does not know she has been traumatized. All right, that does resemble pop psychology, but this is television, so what do you expect? Dr. Phil does what he does in the name of ratings, not mental health. Hold VOY to an even lower standard.

If I have any big complaint, it is the inclusion of the Bomar. This should have been completely an episode involving the main cast with no guest stars. The bomar could have been removed, and the psychological elements of the story would have been front and center. Such would have made the episode much better. The bomar will never be seen again, either, so you cannot even chalk their appearance here as establishing a running conflict with Voyager. There is no point to them other than being an unnecessary distraction.

Rating: *** (out of 5)

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